Before 1960 it was very uncommon to hear of the "contemporary Spanish American novel": there were Uruguayan, Ecuadorian, Mexican or Venezuelan novels. However, during this decade, a literary explosion of Latin American literature took place named "The Boom." El Boom "was simply the discovery of a new literary language in which to express Latin American reality with, for the first time, complete authenticity1." This genre of literature has become known as magic realism, a movement characterized by the dreamlike and fantastic elements, which are mixed into fiction.
There are many reasons why the "Boom" literature occurred when it did. All the ingredients necessary for a social change were there; social and economic dissatisfaction, new cultural ideas and an opening of opportunities for Latin American writers. Gabriel Marquez gave an example of the social and economic injustices committed in his home country, Colombia, in his Nobel Prize speech: "There have been five wars and seventeen military coups; there emerged a dictator who is carrying out, in God's name, the first Latin American ethnocide of our time. Twenty million Latin American children died before the age of one. Those in exile near one hundred and twenty thousand."2 These problems are common throughout Latin America, a factor in creating a sense of unity because of these common concerns. New cultural ideas often emerged from writers who had been living in Europe, mostly in exile. Mario Llosa said in Interviews with Latin American Writers, that by living in Europe, he received "a broadened education" and a "comprehensive perspective, which helped me understand the things in my own country."3 .
Other major factors in the change of cultural ideas surfaced from the revolutions and wars that occurred right before and during the twentieth century. Numerous internal movements had been crushed, although they were successful for a time in Mexico and then in Cuba, revolutionist spirit allied the independent Latin American countries in a common fight for emancipation.